Wanda Wesolowski has been performing professionally since age 14. Growing up in Huntsville gave Wanda a lot of opportunities to play as a teen between all-age events and busking on the streets. Wanda was able to create a name for herself at a very young age in the city of Huntsville where she decided to continue her music career. She initially attended the University of Montevallo before deciding to pursue her career full-time. She now attends the University of North Alabama for their Entertainment Industry program. Through time and consistency, she has made it to where she is now, and she holds a lot of gratitude for those who have supported her along the way.
“The most important thing is that I do this because I love it and not because of any other motive, this is simply what I am supposed to do.”
Soul of the South Q&A
1) What was your “aha” moment/When did you decide that this was the industry for you?
Honestly, my role in this industry goes beyond being a singer-songwriter to me.
I really want to be a spacemaker. I want to have my own venue one day and book musicians. I want it to be a legendary venue. My aha moment was when I hosted a house show with my house venue collective. We threw a house show back in March of 2022 and there were nearly a hundred people there. It changed my life, and it made me realize I am meant to bring people together through music.
2) How did your upbringing/time spent in Alabama shape your career?
Growing up down the road from Muscle Shoals and Florence definitely had an impact. Hearing about the Shoals musicians and Shoals songwriters and being around greatness gives you motivation to be like your heroes because they’re so accessible. The Alabama Shakes are from around here and I worshipped Brittany Howard as a child. Jason Isbell is from Alabama, and we record our records where he grew up. These are the kinds of people that have influenced me just because of proximity.
3) What keeps you moving forward in the industry? Do you have a quote or motto that you find resonates?
Something I say to myself all the time is, “Start where you are. Use what you have and do what you can.” That is what keeps me going and keeps me grounded in where I am in this present moment.
4) How has your nominator made a positive impact on your idea of/relationship to the industry?
The work that they’re doing at The Orion is bringing a much larger musical impact to Huntsville. At The Orion, they are making spaces for music to exist and inviting people there to enjoy it, which is what we are doing through our house shows. It’s essentially the same thing on a different scale. In that way, we can continue to inspire each other in this industry.
5) What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment is my first Wanda Band album because it was done entirely independently. All the songs were written by me, and it was completely funded by me. We recorded it and put it out within nine months. It’s a full studio album and I’m extremely proud of it. It changed my life.
6) What would you like to see more of in Alabama as it pertains to your industry?
I’d like to see more accessible education. The only reason I was able to get lessons was because my parents could afford to send me to private lessons and take me to gigs when I was young. I had the privilege and the ability to do what I do now. So, having more education accessible to poor communities and for music to be available to everyone is important to me.